USB connected mic to Audacity for MAC

Hi Koz.

I’m ready to throw up my hands and just get used to speaking more loudly and/or boosting with Amplify. I bought an IOGEAR USB-C hub to plug right into the Mac. That accomplished making the mic unrecognizable to the computer and with a solid red (not good) status indicator light on the Mac so that’s going back to B&H.

Uploading test for you.

You’re the best.

Final test results:

Tried the cable switch one more time.
Tried Samson mic one more time in the Mac and got plenty of volume.
And tried Rode in my PC and got the reduced volume as well.

So, it’s not the cable, it’s not the Mac.

I think it’s the mic. It varies between .25 and .5. But, if I’m mindful of my volume and/or use Amplify when needed, I guess I can get used to it.
Just so odd. Such a better mic than my Samson.

Thank you for all the effort you’ve been putting into helping me.

Bonnie.

That’s what I thought.

The main shortcoming of this recording system isn’t the microphone. I count at least two different motors or fans in the room with you. Fortunately, most of the rumble noise is below your natural vocal range, so I went in and surgically removed them, plus applying the generic rumble filter.

Note sentence 2/3 down.
Screen Shot 2018-01-13 at 17.50.45.png
Also attached, edited and cleaned clip.

Note that noise only passes by the smallest possible amount in spite of very serious editing. The cut-off is -60.

Play the one you sent and then mine. Note the first two seconds between the two clips. That’s causing that rumbly roar?

So. Try again and turn off the air conditioner, food processor, refrigerator or whatever is running in there with you. I count two. So this isn’t going to be simple (although this could be one thing with two fans).

I can force harder corrections, but much more than I already did may leave your normally terrific voice tones damaged.

Now I’m curious what you find.

Koz

most of the rumble noise is below your natural vocal range

I mean lower in pitch than your normal voice. So the only way I could force it to pass was to apply three different noise corrections.

It would be grand if I didn’t have to do that.

Were you blending daiquiris during the performance?

Koz

By my measurements, your natural noise level is in the -40 range (gets quieter at higher numbers).

To put that in perspective, sound doubles every 6. So your environment noise level doubled three times from where it needs to be.

How did that daiquiri come out?

Koz

The desperation method is not do this at home. I have breakfast at a small cafe across the street from a for-hire voice recording studio.

Walk in, perform, walk out with a finished track.

The more successful voice producers (title intentional) have and continue to produce voice work at professional studios. They’re on Audacity because they want to start doing it all at home. When that doesn’t work as smoothly as the advertising suggests, they’re fighting with their home recordings while still delivering client work. Not failing to produce any work at all.

Koz

Well, THAT’s a lot to process.

Ok. Here goes:

  1. Your version is of course cleaner. And no background noise at all.
    I can’t figure out what that hum is on mine. I do hear it now. Didn’t before. Sadly, no margaritas being made and refrigerator pretty far away especially for a dynamic mic. Air conditioner not on. Maybe the construction outside coming through the walls. Or…I have the Sony Vaio nearby. Maybe that fan was on. I’m going to wait for the construction to stop today and record and see if there’s a difference. And ensure Vaio is off.

But - I don’t notice any increase in the volume of my voice in the recording.

Are you suggesting that whatever the rumble is, is blocking the output of my voice? Or that my volume is ok but I should be aware of the rumble in terms of quality recordings?

*Should the sound wave be between 0 and .5? Why is it between .5 and 1.0 on the PC?

This begs the question of why the Samson mic, when plugged Into the Mac gives me bigger voice output and I don’t have to amplify.

  1. RODE is offering to replace my mic. I’m gathering you don’t think that’s necessary.


    3.Sidebar:

I don’t quite understand the ACX menu. Especially this part –
“Note that noise only passes by the smallest possible amount in spite of very serious editing. The cut-off is -60.”
You mean it’s only heard when higher than -60? And where are you getting that number? Does it show up in Audacity?
Where do you see my natural noise level (and what does that mean - acceptable noise level?)
? “sound doubles every 6. So your environment noise level doubled three times from where it needs to be”

  1. Using an AC powered hub with a USB-3 to connect the mic was a disaster. I’ve sent it back. It overloaded the mic (red light) and didn’t work.

  2. The Apple guy who enabled the voice activated recording in order to set levels was wrong I think. I had to shut that setting off completely. Audacity would freeze.

  3. Of course I agree recording in a studio is a better idea. I just want to make sure the auditions I send in are the best they can be. This all started because a producer got back to me saying the volume on the recording I sent him was too low. That’s when it clicked that the waves were so narrow and I turned up volume on Mac and within Audacity and got it better but still not as wide as on PC. Of course, I don’t understand why they sounded fine to me. I’m guessing he didn’t have his volume all the way up.

Whew. Ok. Thanks again,
Bonnie

Gotta be the refrigerator. That’s the only hum in the joint.

And I can’t get to the plug to turn it off.

And I don’t want the ice cream to melt.

So I guess I’ll do a separate noise reduction profile for the hum if you think that’s a good idea.

But again, wondering if this is affecting the sound level of my recording.

Well, refrigerator fan just went off.

But the hum is still there.

So I’m stumped. It’s air!!!

Also I forgot to send Test2 while refrigerator was still on.

Here’s both.

Bonnie.

I thought we lost you there. We were going to send out the dogs.

I need to go read that again.

I don’t think changing the microphone is going to do a lot of good.

The desirable volume level (on the blue waves) is peaks between 33% and 50%. It’s a constant source of irritation that the bouncing sound meters and the time line are in different numbers. They should not be and there is a Request for Change in Audacity to make them match. Those two percent values work out to -6dB and -10dB on the sound meters.

So if you can generate blue wave peaks up to 0.3 (30%) on occasion, that’s probably enough.

Only the top three numbers in ACX-Check are useful in AudioBook Reading, and then only the dB values. From top to bottom, overload distortion (Peak), overall loudness (RMS) and how loud is it when you stop reading (background noise). Overload and Noise are limits. Loudness is a range.

In the ACX-Check panel I posted, the Noise value was -60.1. The restriction is -60. That means if anything at all goes the slightest bit wrong, the presentation will fail. And that’s after I sent the work through very serious noise reduction.


A very quiet recording environment is really important.

Through a series of accidents, I have a soundproofed third bedroom. If I wait until traffic dies down, I can make a respectable sound track with no microphone. Just using the built-in on the laptop, or my iPod or any one of my pro microphones.

Almost any microphone works.

The noisier your room is, the harder it is to record and the more work you will have to go to to fix the recording in post production, if you can even fix it at all.

You can record at any volume you want, as long as it’s 1000 times louder than your refrigerator. That’s the takeaway. Converting in my head…your refrigerator is only about 100 times quieter than your voice. It needs to be 1000 times quieter.

Noise Reduction tools are not open-ended. I stopped short of harming your voice tones. I can get rid of all the noises, but you will sound like talking into a wine glass with a head cold. ACX AudioBook has a failure called “Overprocessing” for people who overdo it. Nobody is going to pay to hear you sounding like a bad cellphone.

I can collect and publish the tools and settings I used to get your quieter sound clip. But fair warning you will have to remember to do all of them, in order, every time you submit work.

And, in case I haven’t been enough of a wet blanket, you can’t change anything. If you get a new refrigerator or move the furniture around, we’ll have to analyze the damage and change the tools.

I bet you’re wondering how the grownups record under difficult conditions.

They throw money.

That thing he’s holding is a shotgun microphone which comes in somewhere between $800 and $1000, not counting the sound mixer and recorder. I did it a different way. I have a head-mounted microphone similar to the TED Talk people.

…For which I used to have a picture…

So that’s why we’re trying to make you louder. You don’t have to do that, you can make your room quieter.

Koz

You posted what while I was typing my diatribe. I’ll listen when I get home.

Koz

Remember I said I could identify more than one tone, motor or fan? That’s pretty unusual in one thing like a refrigerator, so it’s probably also things like heating/cooling or something like that.

You can get a Mac to make noise if you try hard enough. Open up enough busy web pages at once.

Koz

This is slightly less severe noise processing on Test2. This one would be perfectly compatible with audiobook reading. See first three numbers and attached sound file. I still had to do a little extra sound processing to get it there, but it works and by enough leeway not to have to worry about tiny changes throwing everything off.
Screen Shot 2018-01-15 at 16.43.39.png
Your voice may appear slightly higher and “tighter” than your natural voice. That’s one of the corrections.

I’m going to try this little dance with the other test.

By the way, I can hear you clucking your tongue and smacking your lips in the 2 second “silent” segment. That little piece is harder than you think. Hold your breath.

As we go.

Koz

The refrigerator-off clip is missing one of the two background tones. 102Hz if you’re keeping score. So that’s the fridge.

The rest of the noises succumbed to the standard rumble filter leaving one “mystery tone” which I cut out surgically as before.

This clip too, should sail right by audiobook automated quality control. Apparently, I didn’t take a snapshot of the response panel. But it passed.

If you can find that one remaining noise, you can go with “normal” noise corrections. That is, it’s still noisier than it should be, but it will respond to normal noise management and not need Special, Custom, Hand-Built tools.

Koz

And no background noise at all.



I don’t understand why they sounded fine to me.

How are you listening? This is the other half of producing pro-level readings by yourself. You have to be able to hear all this stuff going by. Cheap speakers or earbuds need not apply. Please don’t tell me you’re listening to laptop speakers.

There are other options, but the Hollywood Standard Headphone is the Sony MDR 7506.

You can find one or more of these on any sound shoot. Their claim to fame, beside having multiple physical tricks, is they will tell you things gone wrong with the performance before the Director hears them. So no, these are not the headphones to lie back and listen to a movie. That’s not their job.

There is no standard speaker system that I know of. There is a fuzzy rule that if you can hold it in one hand, that’s not a good choice. Most good music systems work OK. For example, any sound system that can reproduce a pipe organ will have no trouble listening to the rumble tones in your tests.


Is this a good place to introduce you to Ian, who has the record for the longest posting on the forum? 39 forum chapters and a year of work. All he wanted to do was record audiobooks from his apartment in Hollywood. That’s it. That was the whole job.

Koz

It’s not an accident I’m steering you to the AudioBook tools. They’re pre-baked, published and known, good, working. In general, if you can pass those, you can submit to anybody else, not just ACX. Worst-case, you may need to make minor changes to make the client happy. I’ll bet serious chocolate no client is going to reject a clip that has passed the ACX Check tools. Further, unless you do something seriously messed up, all your clips and readings should match.

Koz

Floor & table noises haven’t been an issue.

Remember that? You won’t hear noises coming up through the floor or table. They just magically appear in the background of the performance.

If you didn’t buy the spidery shock mount with the microphone, you can fake a shock mount with a book and towel.

Also please note the heavy but cheap furniture moving pad on the table.

Well, refrigerator fan just went off.

If you can tell the fridge is running just by listening, that’s the kiss of death. What else can you hear?

That low volume thumping sound plaguing my recordings turned out to be my Ikea wall clock.

For months I had a very low level background hum in my voice recordings. Clearly wall power hum. I found if I moved the microphone around the room there were magic places where the hum was minimum and that’s where I was working. That one turned out to be my music keyboard bass cabinet which didn’t automatically turn off when it was supposed to. Unplug it and all the hum vanished.

I found that one by moving the microphone around the room and aiming it different places, intentionally searching for the hum. It kept getting louder when I approached that corner of the room.

The lights are on the back of the cabinet…and they were on.

Koz

So. Just to make sure I understand…

The further I can reduce the noise, the louder my voice will be?
Or are those two different issues (mic volume level and room noise) and you’re trying to reduce the noise in order to improve the overall quality of the recording?

It’s reassuring that the timeline wave can be between .3 and .5. I’m just still stumped as to why Samson mic on same Mac delivers more volume – between .5 and 1.0

I know about the saliva sounds. They are the bane of my existence. I’ve tried every trick in the book - green apples, water, sprays, xylitol gum but that’s what I’ve been using noise reduction for. You’ve been looking primarily at environmental noise. We may have missed each other on this.
My major focus is on removing the mouth sounds, in addition to trying to figure out why the volume is lower.

Thanks again,
Bonnie.

p.s. Mic is on a floor stand with a heavy round base on a wood floor.
I can move it to the rug and see if that improves noise.

The further I can reduce the noise, the louder my voice will be?

Close. The quieter your room is, the less you have to pay attention to voice volume.

For example, if you have to double the volume of your voice for the client (you have to satisfy the client no matter what else you do), the background noise will double, too. If there is little or no background noise, you are free to adjust your performance volume however you want.

If your motor, fan, rumble and background noises are competing with you for space on your recording, you only have two realistic choices: Perform louder or unplug the fridge.

The snowball is a “hot” microphone and naturally produces a solid performance even if it’s not the best quality. The Podcaster is a much better quality microphone but slightly quieter while it’s doing it. If you record in a quiet room, these performance volumes will make no difference to the deliverable at all.


Noise Reduction is a fine adjustment tool not designed to “rescue” a failed performance. Particularly in your case, forcing stiff noise reduction is likely to damage your high quality vocal tones. There is no win here.

And just to shift your reference a little, One poster in a noisy room built a studio out of Home Center plastic pipes.

It’s not glued together. It knocks down for storage. She’s a published reader now, and that’s not unusual. I built mine out of wooden sticks and moving blankets.

Mine knocks down for storage in the garage.

That studio-for-hire recording is looking better and better isn’t it?

Koz